How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

Hi There! After living in Italy for a year, I had to visit the region of Puglia, for its amazing beaches, gorgeous towns, and, of course, the phenomenal food! So I had to write you a guide of the best foods of Puglia Italy!

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

The Best Food of Puglia Italy

First, we had to figure out if the name is Apulia or Puglia. So, to clear this up for everyone, Apulia is the ancient name of the region, coming from Greek meaning “those who live on the other side of the Adriatic Sea.” Puglia is the modern-Italian name of the region and is used today.

Both are interchangeable, so feel free to say either! Now on to virtual tasting of the best foods of Puglia, Italy! Ready… Let’s Go!
How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

Where is Puglia, Italy

Puglia is the southern region of Italy, otherwise known as the heel of the boot. For one year, we lived about three hours from this region, so we had a few chances to visit, see the gorgeous beaches, and eat the amazing food in Puglia.  Many people think Puglia has the best food in Italy; even Conde Nest has Puglia’s food scene on their radar. Here is our list of must-try local foods while in Puglia, Italy.

Best Foods of Puglia, Italy

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

Frisella is one of Puglia’s most famous food. It is this amazing, crunchy, very dry bread normally baked in a stone oven and sometimes has a hole in the middle. These little crunchy breads have been around forever and are best when served with tomatoes and basil with some olive oil. I love it served like bruschetta, but the locals eat it dipped in salty water to give it some more flavor and soften it up.


How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy



These little crunchy bites and are Southern Italy’s answer to crackers. They are small and circular and eaten as a snack. You can eat them sweet glazed in sugar or savory with garlic, black pepper, or chili (my favorite.) They are super versatile and easy to eat on the go while wandering about! I fell in love with them when we were there; the spicy chili kind, of course.


How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

Focaccia ripiena 

Basically an Italian sandwich made of fresh ingredients on focaccia bread, rocks! I love these things! Of course, when they are stuffed with mozzarella, parma, and veggies, well, I just have to yell “Fantastico!”

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy


Puddica is a speciality food in Puglia, it is a bread dough, that is also mixed with mashed potatoes and rolled into flat bread. They are baked similarly to pizza and then covered with tomatoes and seasonings! YUM! I mean, bread and potatoes all rolled into one?! Che fico!

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy


Pizzettes are basically miniature pizzas topped with fresh cherry tomatoes and cheese. You can find it with a variety of toppings, just like full-size pizza. Sometimes, instead of tradition pizza dough, they are made with flat bread. These are considered street food and easy to eat on the go. My kids love these and eat them like popcorn! Watch out – they can be addicting.

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

CC BY-SA 2.5 it,

Il Rustico

Il Rustico is very special and considered one of the best foods of Puglia, Italy. Once you leave Puglia, it hard if not impossible to find anywhere else. The rustico is part pastry, part pizza. It is sealed and cooked, similar to a calzone, but instead of being made with pizza dough, it is made with puff pastry. Depending on what town you are in, they come stuffed with different things. In Lecce, they are stuffed with bechamel sauce, mozzarella, and fresh tomatoes then baked in the oven. Oh, Mamma Mia! Can’t you just taste the melted mozzarella!?

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy


Burrata is a local fresh cheese specialty in Southern Italy. It is unique because it has the outer skin much like fresh buffalo mozzarella but the inside is filled with cream. Yes, cream! This is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. It is usually served fresh and at room temperature. The word burrata means “buttered” in Italian. Let me tell you, I can eat a plate of this, easy, just like butter! Incredible!

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy


Orecchiette is a type of pasta, found mainly in Puglia. The word orecchiette actually means “little ears” in Italian. This ear-shaped pasta is handmade and normally is served with cime di rapa (broccoli leaves) and garlic. It can be served with ricotta cheese and a handful of ripe tomatoes. You also might find it served with mini meatballs. The locals say the shape of the pasta, with the little dips inside, is the best for soaking up the sauce! Anything you can find with this pasta in the area will be amazing!

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

Sagne ‘ncannulate

Sagne ‘ncannulate is a local type of pasta that is handmade. It is thick cut, long, and spiraled, and some say it is much like the twisted streets of the baroque towns of Puglia. This is traditionally served with a homemade tomato-cheese sauce. AHHH, YES! CHEESE SAUCE! This is one of my family’s favorite dishes.

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

Ostriche Arrosto 

Lecce is very close to two different seas, the Adriatic and the Mediterranean, although the locals call the area to the west “the Ionain Sea.” In the area, you find a ton of fresh fish and seafood. Oysters are a specialty food in Puglia, and were probably caught that morning! This dish is grilled oysters with parsley, garlic, oregano, breadcrumbs, olive oil, and lemon juice. Magnifico!

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

Riso, patate e cozze

This dish is a specialty food from the area of Bari. It is similar to paella but with only mussels (and not all the other seafood.) The most unique thing about this dish is that it is made with rice and potatoes along with the mussels. If you find some of this on a menu, try it out; you wont find it anywhere else in Italy so eat this dish in Puglia.

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

Tiella di verdure

Tiella di verdure is a baked casserole of fresh, local vegetables, similar to ratatouille. It is topped with a load of mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and fresh basil. It has so much flavor, and the cheese just tops it all off and melts in your mouth. Seriously, it is spettacolare and one of our fave foods in Puglia.

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy


Pancotto is an ancient food dish from the area of Capitanata in Puglia. It is made from a vegetable-broth base and stale or day-old bread. It also has a ton of fresh, local veggies, fennel seeds, local virgin olive oil, and finished off with chili peppers. This is really hearty and satisfying with a great flavor and a little kick of spice!

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

Zuppa di cozze alla tarantina

Zuppa di cozze alla tarantina are steamed mussels with garlic, onions, tomatoes, and hot peppers all cooked together with some white wine! The mussels are always fresh from the sea, and, of course, local vegetables! If you love seafood, this one is for you. Have a glass of local white wine to go with it. Che grande!

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy


Sott’olio describes a way that the Pugliese people preserve their produce. Local grown vegetables, like eggplants and artichokes, are jarred with onions and peppers. The jars are filled with virgin olive oil and vinegar and then left to sit for many months. Once they are ready to eat, they add a great addition to any antipasto plate! These are delicious, and you will find these preserved vegetables that on many antipasto plates.

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy


Now you know I had to give you something sweet to eat, right?! This is the local specialty pastry made in Lecce. Ask any local and they will tell you this is one of the best foods of Puglia, Italy. It is a flaky pastry crust with creamy custard filing. We tried them fresh in the morning from the baker and OH are they good! Sometimes they are made with fruits,  like cherries, and are even sweeter! A typical breakfast in Puglia is a great pasticciotto, and, of course, an even better Italian cappuccino. We Americans would call it the bomba!

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

Aperol Spritzer

Have an aperitivo, of an Aperol spritzer, and some antipasto! One of my favorite drinks is this spritzer. This little baby is Italian prosecco with a splash of Compari or Aperol and a big fat orange to soak up all that alcohol goodness. It is tart and sparkling sweet all in one and a great drink to have before dinner with some snacks. The Italians always drink it with a big straw. What is not to like about that?!

How to Eat The Best Foods Of Puglia, Italy

What else can I help you with in Puglia?

Do you need information on other areas in Puglia to Visit? ? Check out our Weekend Guide to Lecce, Italy. Other great articles about the area are, Visit Matera, and The Cone Shaped Houses of Alberobello. 

Where to Stay in Puglia, Italy

If staying in Puglia, Italy  compare prices of the best hotels Here!  

What to eat in Puglia Italy

Food tours in Puglia, Italy

My personal recommendations are a  traditional home cooking experience in Lecce. Another great tour is the Gastro food tour from Bari. Lastly, I would recommend the full-day wine tour to two wineries in Salento, seeing the countryside, and tasting the local wines – my ideal day, of course!

Compare Prices Here. 

Flights to Puglia

You can fly into either Bari or Brindisi – both have routes from around Europe and from Rome. Compare Flight Prices here to get the best prices and flight options.

Car rental In Puglia, Italy?

Renting a car in Italy is a great way to see  the country on your own time.

Compare rental car prices here.

CarRental8 - Best Prices Guaranteed

Language in Puglia, Italy

Reading menus, and speaking the language can always be a little bit daunting. Grab a quick Italian Lesson or two before you go! Compare Language Programs Here. 
For  A free Italian Lesson Click the photo below. icon

Pimsleur Italian


I hope you get a chance to eat all the best foods in Puglia, Italy. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did! Did I forget anything? Do you have a favorite food from the area that I didn’t list? Please drop a comment below and let us know! If you want to read more about us and our life as a Professional Basketball family Click Here! 

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– Stacey


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  • Reply February 4, 2019

    Marie Rowe

    Thanks for sharing this awesome blog. Im off to Puglia in April and will be writing my own travel and food blogs. You're really inspired me. Im hungry already!
  • Reply September 1, 2017


    Here are my personal favourites for eating in Puglia with some nice restaurant tips.
  • Reply May 23, 2017

    Reshma Narasing

    Wow! I love love Italian food and I can't figure out what to try first among these lol! They look so yummy! Zuppa di cozze looks inviting! Reshma Narasing recently posted...Volunteering At Zostel – To Awesome Experiences!My Profile
  • […] You will stop in for a snack and end up spending the day – it’s just an amazing little place. Stop by if you are in the area! If you want the lowdown on the best food to eat in the region, check out our post on the best foods of Puglia. […]
  • Reply March 26, 2017


    All the yum! Everything looks ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! Adding Puglia to my list of must-visit places when I do my Euro trip next year :)
  • Reply March 26, 2017


    I love Italian food! I feel like if I'd live in Italy, I would gain so much weight because I would not be able to contain myself. Nice pictures too!
  • Reply March 23, 2017


    OMG - it's almost lunch time for me and now I'm so so hungry! I can't really decide which dish I'd want to try first, though the focaccia ripiena immediately jumped out at me. I'm trying to move to the Balkans this autumn, and plan to be a short plane ride away from Greece and Italy. Puglia has definitely made it to my list of must-see foodie places and I'll be sure to keep this post handy! PS - gorgeous photos!
  • Reply March 23, 2017

    Sandy N Vyjay

    The dishes are just so unique. Italy isn’t just about pastas after all! I am amazed to see such a variety of vegan items that look extremely delicious. I am in love with Puglia!
  • Reply March 22, 2017


    I think I should find a job in Puglia and just live there!! The food is just too incredible and I'd want to eat these everyday!!! Lolz... But then, bubye dieting!!! I'm just happy to see many varieties are vegetarian as well, which is not really common!
  • Reply March 21, 2017

    Rosie Benton

    Oh man I shouldn't have read this before dinner! It all looks absolutely delicious and I hadn't heard of hardly any of those dishes but now I want to try them all!! Great photos too.
  • Reply March 21, 2017

    Vishu Saumya

    Now this sounds like a complete guide to what to eat in Puglia. The food looks so yum that I have started feeling hungry.
  • Reply March 20, 2017


    I can feel my stomach rumbling at the sight of all of these delicious Italian foods! While most people would think of bruschetta, pasta, pizza, etc. I would be curious to taste pasticciotto. It looks incredibly delicious and not to mention, I love sweets! I'm gonna need to find a recipe for this or take myself to Italy. :)
  • Reply March 20, 2017


    I am so hungry right now! Everything looks good, but I would love to try the il rustico and frisella.
  • Reply March 20, 2017


    My mouth is watering right now! All of this looks so good. I don't know which one I would like to try first, but I'm leaning toward the il rustico, it sounds unreal.
  • […]  Want to know What to Eat while in Lecce? Check our guide to food in Puglia.  […]

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